1 Abbreviations: Adler & Tuffin (2002) Adler W. & Tuffin P., The Chronography of George Synkellos: A Byzantine Chronicle of Universal History from the Creation, Oxford 2002 Allen (1947) Allen E. B., A Coptic Solar Eclipse Record, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 67 (4), 1947, p Buchner (1977) Buchner R. (ed.), Gregor von Tours. Fränkische Geschichte, Vol. I, Darmstadt 1977 Burgess (1997) Richard W. Burgess, The chronicle of Hydatius and the Consularia Constantinopolitana. Two contemprorary Accounts of the Final Years of the Roman Empire, Oxford 1997 Chabot (1904) Chabot J. B., Chronique de Michel le Syrien, Vol. II, Paris 1904 Chabot (1905) Chabot J. B., Chronique de Michel le Syrien, Vol. III, Paris 1905 Cherniss & Helmbold (1957) Cherniss H. & Helmbold W. C., Plutarch s Moralia, Vol. XII, London 1957 Colgrave & Mynors (1969) Colgrave B. & Mynors R. A. B., Bede s ecclesiastical history of the English people, Oxford 1969 De Boor (1883) De Boor C. (ed.), Theophanis chronographia, Vol. I, Leipzig 1883 Delaporte (1910) Delaporte L.-J., La chronographie d Elie Bar Šinaya Métropolitain de Nisibe, Paris 1910 De Meis (2002) De Meis S., Eclipses. An astronomical introduction for humanists, Roma 2002 Feix (2006;1) Feix J. (ed.), Herodot Historien, Vol. 1, Düsseldorf 2006 Feix (2006;2) Feix J. (ed.), Herodot Historien, Vol. 2, Düsseldorf 2006 Fotheringham (1920) Fotheringham J. K., A solution of ancient eclipses of the sun, in: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 81, 1920,
2 Groß-Albenhausen & Fuhrmann (2009) Groß-Albenhausen K. & Fuhrmann M. (eds.), S. Aurelius Victor. Die römischen Kaiser, Düsseldorf 2009 Keyes (1994) Keyes C. W., Cicero. De re publica. De legibus, London 1994 LCL The Loeb Classical Library Mastandrea (2005) Mastandrea P., Giulio Ossequente Prodigi, Milano 2005 MGH Monumenta Germaniae Historica Monat (1992) Monat P., Firmicus Maternus Mathesis Tome I, Livres I-II, Paris 1992 Newton (1970) Newton R. R., Ancient astronomical observations and the acceleration of the earth and moon, Baltimore 1970 Newton (1972) Newton R. R., Medieval Chronicles and the Rotation of the Earth, Baltimore 1972 Nickel (2003) Nickel R., Archilochos Gedichte, Düsseldorf 2003 Niebuhr (1828) Niebuhr B. G. (ed.), Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae, vol. 33, Bonn 1828 Quacquarelli (1957) Quacquarelli A., Q. S. F. Tertulliani ad Scapulam, Rom 1957 Rosán (1949) Rosán L. J., The Philosophy of Proclus, New York 1949 Said & Stephenson (1997) Said S. S. & Stephenson F. R., Solar and Lunar Eclipse Measurements by Medieval Muslim Astronomers, II: Observations, Journal for the History of Astronomy xxviii, 1997, Schove (1984) Schove D. J., Chronology of eclipses and comets AD , Dover 1984 Skene (1867) Skene W. H., Chronicles of the Picts and Scots, Edinburgh 1867 Stephenson (1997) Stephenson F. R., Historical eclipses and earth s rotation, London 1997 Usener (1914) Usener H., Kleine Schriften III, Leipzig 1914
3 Vasiliev (1912) Vasiliev A. A. (ed.), Patrologia Orientalis 8, Vol. III, Rom 1912 Woodman (2004) Woodman A. J., Tacitus. The Annals, Indianapolis 2004
4 648 BC April 6 Archilochos, Fragment 122, 1-4 Χρημάτων ἄελπτον οὐδέν ἐστιν οὐδ ἀπώμοτον οὐδὲ θαυμάσιον, ἐπειδὴ Ζεὐς πατὴρ Ὀλυμπίων ἐκ μεσημβρίης ἔθηκε νύκτ, ἀποκρύψας φάος ἡλίου λάμποντος λυγρὸν δ ἦλθ ἐπ ἀνθρώπους δέος. 585 BC May 28 Herodot I 74 διαφέρουσι δέ σφι ἐπὶ ἴσης τὸν πόλεμον τῷ ἕκτῳ ἔπεϊ συμβολῆς γενομένης συνήνεικε ὥστε τῆς μάχης συνεστεώσης τὴν ἡμέρην ἐξαπίνης νύκτα γενέσθαι τὴν δὲ μεταλλαγὴν ταὐτην τῆς ἡμέρης Θαλῆς ὁ Μιλήσιος τοῖσι Ἴωσι προηγόρευσε ἔσεσθαι, οὖρον προθέμενος ἐνιαυτὸν τοῦτον, ἐν τῷ δὴ καὶ ἐγένετο ἡ μεταβολή. 585 BC May 28 Plinius, Natural History II, IX.53 Apud Graecos autem investigavit primus omnium Thales Milesius Olympiadis XLVIII anno quarto praedicto solis defectu, qui Alyatte rege factus est urbis conditae anno CLXX (variants CLXXX, CXX). Xenophon, Anabasis III, IV BC May 19 ταύτην δὲ πόλιν (Λάρισσαν) βασιλεὺς ὁ Περσῶν, ὅτε παρὰ Μήδων τὴν ἀρχὴν ἐλάμβανον Πέρσαι, πολιορκῶν οὐδενὶ τρόπῳ ἑδύνατο ἑλεῖν ἥλιον δὲ νεφέλη προκαλύψασα ἠφάνισε μέχρι ἐξέλιπον οἱ ἄνθρωποι, καὶ οὕτως ἑάλω. Nickel (2003), p. 107 Nothing can be surprising any more or impossible or miraculous, now that Zeus, father of the Olympians has made night out of noonday, hiding the bright sunlight, and fear has come upon mankind. Feix (2006;1), p. 71 As, however, the balance had not inclined in favour of either nation, another combat took place in the sixth year, in the course of which, just as the battle was growing warm, day was on a sudden changed into night. This event had been foretold by Thales, the Milesian, who forewarned the Ionians of it, fixing for it the very year in which it actually took place. Rackham H., LCL, Pliny Natural History I, London 1979, p. 203 The original discovery was made in Greece by Thales of Miletus, who in the fourth year of the 48th Olympiad (=585/4 BC) foretold the eclipse of the sun that occurred in the reign of Alyattes, in the 170 th year (variants: 180 th, 120 th ) after the foundation of Rome (=584/3 BC). Brownson C. L., LCL, Xenophon Anabasis, London 1922, p. 227 This city (Larissa = Assyrian city of Calah) was besieged by the king of the Persians (= Cyrus the Great) at the time when the Persians were seeking to wrest from the Medes their empire, but he could in no way capture it. A cloud, however, overspread the sun and hid it from sight until the inhabitants abandoned their city; and thus it was taken.
5 480 BC October 2 Herodot IX 10 ἀπῆγε δὲ τὴν στρατιὴν ὁ Κλεόμβροτος ἐκ τοῦ Ἰσθμοῦ διὰ τόδε θυομένῳ οἱ ἐπὶ τῷ Πέρσῃ ὁ ἥλιος ᾀμαυρώθη ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ. 478 BC February 17 Herodot VII 37 ἅμα τῷ ἔαρι παρεσκευασμένος ὁ στρατὸς ἐκ τῶν Σαρδίων ὁρμᾷτο ἐλῶν ἐς Ἄβυδον ὁρμημένῳ δέ οἱ ὁ ἥλιος ἐκλιπὼν τὴν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἕδρην ἀφανὴς ἦν οὔτ ἐπινεφέλων ἐόντων αἰθρίης τε τὰ μάλιστα, ἀντὶ ἡμέρης τε νὺξ ἐγένετο. 488 BC September 1? / 463 BC April 30? Pindar, Paean IX, ἢ καπροῦ φθίσιν, ἢ νιφετοῦ σθένος ὑπέρφατον, ἢ στάσιν οὐλομέναν, ἢ πόντου κενέωσιν <ἄρ > ἄμ πέδον, ἢ παγετὸν χθονός, ἢ νότιον θέρος ὕδατι ζακότῳ ῥέον, ἢ γαῖαν κατακλύσαισα θήσεις ἀνδρῶν νεὸν ἐξ ἀρχῆς γένος ὀλοφύ[ρομαι οὐ]δέν, ὅ τι πάντων μέτα πείσομαι. Feix (2006;2), p A prodigy had caused him to bring his army home; for while he was offering sacrifice to know if he should march out against the Persian, the sun was suddenly darkened in mid sky. Feix (2006;2), p. 909 then at length the host, having first wintered at Sardis, began its march towards Abydos, fully equipped, on the first approach of spring. At the moment of departure, the sun suddenly quitted his seat in the heavens, and disappeared, though there were no clouds in sight, but the sky was clear and serene. probably no eclipse citation at all! Sandys J. E., LCL, The Odes of Pindar, London 1937, p. 549 But art thou bringing a sign of some war, or wasting of produce, or an unspeakably violent snow-storm, or fatal faction, or again, some overflowing of the sea on the plain, or frost to bind the earth, or heat of the south wind streaming with raging rain? Or wilt thou, by deluging the land, cause the race of men to begin anew? I in no wise lament whate er I shall suffer with the rest! Thukydides II, XXVIII 431 BC August 3 Τοῦ δ αὐτοῦ θέρους νουμηνίᾳ κατὰ σελήνην ὁ ἥλιος ἐξέλιπε μετὰ μεσημβρίαν καὶ πάλιν ἀνεπληρώθη, γενόμενος μηνοειδὴς καὶ ἀστέρων τινῶν ἐκφανέντων. Smith C. F., LCL, Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War, London 1969, p The same summer, at the beginning of a new lunar month, the only time by the way at which it appears possible, the Sun was eclipsed after noon. After it had assumed the form of a crescent and some of the stars had come out, it returned to its natural shape.
6 Thukydides IV, LII 424 BC May 21 Τοῖ δ ἐπιγιγνομένου θέρους εὐθὺς τοῦ τε ἡλίου ἐκλιπές τι ἐγένετο περὶ νουμηνίαν 404 BC September 3 Xenophon, Hellenica II 3.4 Κατὰ δὲ τοῦτον τὸν καιρὸν περὶ ἡλίου ἔκλειψιν Λυκόφρων ὁ Φεραῖος, βουλόμενος ἄρξαι ὅλης τῆς Θετταλίας, τοὺς ἐναντιουμένους αὐτῷ τῶν Θετταλῶν, Λαρισαίους τε καὶ ἄλλους, μάχῃ ἐνίκησε καὶ πολλοὺς ἀπέκτεινεν. 400 BC June 21 Cicero, de re publica I Paragraph 25, 3-4 Id autem postea ne nostrum quidem Ennium fugit, qui ut scribit, anno trecentesimo quinquagesimo fere post Romam conditam Nonis Iunis soli luna obstitit et nox. Atque hac in re tanta inest ratio atque sollertia, ut ex hoc die, quem apud Ennium et in maximis annalibus consignatum videmus, superiores solis defectionis reputatae sint usque ad illam, quae Nonis Quinctilibus fuit regnante Romulo; quibus quidem Romulum tenebris etiam si natura ad humanum exitum abripuit, virtus tamen in caelum dicitur sustulisse. 394 BC August 14 Xenophon, Hellenica IV 3.10 ὄντος δ αὐτοῦ (Ἀγησιλάου) ἐπὶ τῇ ἐμβολῇ (εἰς τὰ Βοιωτῶν ὅρια) ὁ ἥλιος μηνοειδὴς ἔδοξε φανῆναι. Smith C. F., LCL, Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War, London 1975, p. 299 At the very beginning of the next summer a partial eclipse of the sun took place at new moon, and in the early part of the same month an earthquake. Brownson C. L., LCL, Xenophon Hellenica, London 1985, p. 115 It was near this date, and at about the time of an eclipse of the sun, that Lycophron of Pherae, who wanted to make himself ruler of all Thessaly, defeated in battle those among the Thessalians who opposed him, namely the Larisaeans and others, and slew many of them. Keyes (1994), p. 47 But later even our own Ennius was not ignorant of it, for he wrote that, in about the three hundred and fiftieth year after Rome was founded: In the month of June the day was then the fifth the moon and night obscured the shining sun. And now so much exact knowledge in regard to this matter has been gained that, by the use of the date recorded by Ennius and in the Great Annals, the dates of previous eclipses of the sun have been reckoned, all the way back to that which occurred on July fifth in the reign of Romulus. For even though during the darkness of that eclipse, Nature carried Romulus away to man s inevitable end, yet the story is that it was his merit that caused his translation to heaven. Brownson C. L., LCL, Xenophon Hellenica, London 1985, p. 297 When he was at the entrance to Boeotia, the sun seemed to appear crescent-shaped.
7 364 BC July 13 Diodor XV 80.2 Τοῦ δὲ Πελοπίδου ταχέως μετὰ τῆς δυνάμεως ἐξιόντος συνέβη τὸν ἥλιον ἐκλιπεῖν. Sherman C. L., LCL, Diodorus of Sicily, London 1971, p. 173 But as Pelopidas was hastening to leave with his army, the sun, as it happened, was eclipsed. 364 BC July 13 Plutarch, Vita Pelopidae XXXI.2 Ψηφισαμένων δὲ τῶν Θηβαίων προθύμως καὶ ταχὺ πάντων ἑτοίμων γενομένων καὶ τοῦ στρατηγοῦ περὶ ἔξοδον ὄντος, ὁ μὲν ἥλιος ἐξέλιπε καὶ σκότος ἐν ἡμέρᾳ τὴν πόλιν ἔσχεν. Perrin B., LCL, Plutarch s Lives Vol. 5, London 1961, p. 421 The Thebans readily decreed what they desired, and soon everything was in readiness and the commander about to set out, when the sun was eclipsed and the city was covered with darkness in the day-time. 361 BC May 12 Plutarch, Vita Dionis XIX.4 Οὕτω δὲ διακειμένων πρὸς ἀλλήλους καὶ λανθάνειν πάντας οἰομένων, Ἑλίκων ὁ Κυζικηνὸς, εἷς τῶν Πλάτωνος συνήθων, ἡλίου προεῖπεν ἔκλειψιν καὶ γενομένης, ὡς προεῖπε, θαυμασθεὶς ὑπὸ τοῦ τυράννου δωρεὰν ἔλαβεν ἀργυρίου τάλαντον. Perrin B., LCL, Plutarch s Lives Vol. 6, London 1961, p But while matters stood thus between them, and no one knew of it, as they supposed, Helicon of Cyzicus, one of Plato's intimates, predicted an eclipse of the sun. This took place as he had predicted, in consequence of which he was admired by the tyrant and presented with a talent of silver. 310 BC August 15 Diodor XX 5.6 Τῇ δ ἱστεραίᾳ τηλικαύτην ἔκλειψιν ἡλίου συνέβη γενέσθαι, ὥστε ὁλοσχερῶς φανῆναι νύκτα θεωρουμένων τῶν ἀστέρων πανταχοῖ. Geer R. M., LCL, Diodorus of Sicily, London 1971, p On the next day there occurred such an eclipse of the sun that stars appeared everywhere, it was like at a complete night.
8 217 BC February 11 Livius XXII, Ι.8 Augebant metum prodigia ex pluribus simul locis nuntiata : in Sicilia militibus aliquot spicula, in Sardinia autem in muro circumeunti vigilias equiti scipionem quem manu tenuerat arsisse, et litora crebris ignibus fulsisse, et scuta duo sanguine sudasse, et milites quosdam ictos fulminibus, et solis orbem minui visum, et Praeneste ardentes lapides caelo cecidisse, et Arpis parmas in caelo visas pugnantemque cum luna solem, Foster B. O., LCL, Livy V, London 1963, p. 201 Men s fears were augmented by the prodigies reported simultaneously from many places : that in Sicily the javelins of several soldiers had taken fire, and that in Sardinia, as a horseman was making the round of the night-watch, the same thing had happened to the truncheon which he held in his hand ; that many fires had blazed up on the shore ; that two shields had sweated blood ; that certain soldiers had been struck with lightning ; that the sun s disk had seemed to be contracted ; that glowing stones had fallen from the sky at Praeneste; that at Arpi bucklers had appeared in the sky and the sun had seemed to be fighting with the moon; 203 BC May 6 Livius XXX, XXXVIII.8 Prodigia quoque nuntiata sub ipsam famam rebellionis terrorem attulerant : Cumis solis orbis minui visus et pluit lapideo imbri et in Veliterno agro terra ingentibus cavernis consedit arboresque in profundum haustae. Gardner Moore F., LCL, Livy VIII, London 1962, p. 511 Reports of prodigies also at the very time when there were rumours of fresh hostilities had inspired alarm. At Cumae the sun was partially eclipsed and it rained stones, and in the district of Velitrae the ground settled in huge cavities and trees were swallowed in the depths. 190 BC March 14 Livius XXXVII, IV.4 Per eos dies, quibus est profectus ad bellum consul, ludis Apollinaribus ante diem quintum idus Quinctiles caelo sereno interdiu obscurata lux est, cum luna sub orbem solis subisset. Sage E. T., LCL, Livy X, London 1965, p. 301 About the time the consul departed to the war, during the ludi Apollinares, on the fifth day before the Ides of July, in a clear sky during the day, the light was dimmed since the moon passed before the circle of the sun.
9 188 BC July 17 Livius XXXVIII, XXXVI.4 Priusquam in provincias novi magistratus proficiscerentur, supplicatio triduum pro collegio decemvirorum imperata fuit in omnibus compitis, quod luce inter horam tertiam ferme et quartam tenebrae obortae fuerant ; et novemdiale sacrificium indictum est, quod in Aventino lapidibus pluvisset. Sage E. T., LCL, Livy XI, London 1965, p. 119 Before the new magistrates departed for their provinces a threeday period of prayer was proclaimed in the name of the college of decemvirs at all the street-corner shrines because in the day-time, between about the third and fourth hours, darkness had covered everything. Also a nine-day sacrifice was decreed because there had been a shower of stones on the Aventine. 104 BC July 19 Julius Obsequens, Prodigiorum liber, c a.2 C. Mario C. Flavio coss. [A.U.C. 650 / 104 B.C.] Cimbri Alpes transgressi per Hispaniam vastatam iunxerunt se Teutonis. Lupus urbem intravit. Fulminis ictu vultures super turrem exanimati. Hora diei tertia solis defectus lucem obscuravit. Own translation C. Marius and C. Flavius consuls The Cimbri, who transgressed the Alps, allied with the Teutones after the devastation of Spain. A wolf entered the city. Vultures were killed above a tower by a stroke of lightning. During the third hour of the day a solar eclipse dimmed the light. 62 BC October 1 Julius Obsequens, Prodigiorum liber, c. 62 Quinto Metello L. Afranio coss. [A.U.C. 694 / 60 B.C.] 62. Die toto ante sereno circa horam undecimam nox se intendit, deinde restitutus fulgor. Brind Amour P., Le calendrier romain, Ottawa 1983, p. 112 Quintus Metellus and L. Afranius consuls The whole day it was quiet until about the 11 th hour, when it became dark night until the brightness reappeared. 51 BC March 7 Cassius Dio XLI, 14.3 ὅ τε ἥλιος σύμπας ἐξέλιπε. Cary E., LCL, Dio s Roman History VI, London 1968, p. 27 The Sun, too, suffered a total eclipse.
10 5 AD March 28 Cassius Dio LV, 22.3 Τότε δ οὖν ἐπὶ τε τοῦ Κορνηλίου καὶ ἐπὶ Οὐαλερίου Μεσσάλου ὑπάτων σεισμοί τε ἐξαίσιοι συνέβησαν τοῦ τε ἡλίου τι ἐκλιπὲς ἐγένετο. Cary E., LCL, Dio s Roman History VI, London 1968, p. 451 At this time, in the consulship of Cornelius and Valerius Messalla, violent earthquakes occurred and the Tiber carried away the bridge and made the city navigable for seven days; there was also a partial eclipse of the sun, and famine set in. 29 AD November 24 Africanus, Chronology, in: Synkellos, Chronographia 391 Φλέγων ἱστορεῖ ἐπὶ Τιβερίου Καίσαρος ἐν πανσελήνῳ ἔκλειψιν ἡλίου γεγονέναι τελείαν ἀπὸ ὥρας ἕκτης δῆλον ὡς ταύτην Adler & Tuffin (2002), p. 466 Phlegon records that during the reign of Tiberius Caesar there was a complete solar eclipse at full moon from the sixth to the ninth hour; it is clear that this is the one 29 AD November 24 Eusebios in Synkellos, Chronographia 394 Ἰησοῦς ὁ Χριστὸς, ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν, κατὰ τὰς περὶ αὐτοῦ προφητείας επὶ τὸ πάθος προῄει ἔτους ιθ τῆς Τιβερίου βασιλείας, καθ ὃν καιρὸν καὶ ἐν ἄλλοις μὲν Ἑλληνικοῖς ὑπομνήμασιν εὕρομεν ἱστορούμενα κατὰ λέξιν ταῦτα ὁ ἥλιος ἐξέλιπε Βιθυνία ἐσείσθη Νικαίας τὶ πολλὰ ἔπεσεν ἃ καὶ συνᾴδει τοῖς περὶ τὸ πάθος τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν συμβεβηκόσι γράφει δὲ καὶ Φλέγων ὁ τὰς Ὀλψμπιάδας γράψας περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν ἐν τᾷ ιγ ῥήμασιν αὐτοῖς τάδε. Τῷ δ ἔτει τῆς σβ ὀλυμπιάδος ἐγένετο ἔκλειψις ἡλίου μεγίστη τῶν ἐγνωρισμένων πρότερον, καὶ νὺξ ὥρᾳ ἕκτῃ τῆς ἡμέρας ἐγένετο ὥστε καὶ ἀστέρας ἐν οὐρανῷ φανῆναι. Σεισμός τε μέγας κατὰ Βιθυνίαν γενόμενος τὰ πολλὰ Νικαίας κατεστρέψατο καὶ ταῦτα μὲν ὁ δηλωθεὶς ἀνήρ τεκμήριον δ ἄν γένοιτο τοῦ κατὰ τόδε τὸ ἔτος πεπονθέναι τὸν σωτῆρα ἡ τοῦ κυρίου κατὰ Ἰωάννην εὐαγγελίου μαρτυρία, ἤτις μετὰ τὸ ιε ἔτος Τιβερίου πριετῆ χρόνον τῆς διδασκαλίας αὐτοῦ διαγενέσθαι μαρτυρεῖ Adler & Tuffin (2002), p In accordance with the prophecies about him, Jesus Christ, the son of God, our Lord, went forth to his passion in the 19 th year of the reign of Tiberius. At that time, we have found the following events recounted verbatim in other Greek historical records as well: There was a solar eclipse. Bithynia was awaken by an earthquake. Many sites in Nikaia collapsed. These reports also correspond with the events associated with the passion of our Saviour. Phlegon, who composed a record of the Olympiads, also writes about these same events in his 13 th book, with the following words: In the fourth year of the 202 nd Olympiad, there was an eclipse of the sun, greater than any that had been previously known. And night fell at the sixth hour of the day, so that the stars appeared in the sky. A great earthquake occurring throughout Bithynia overturned many sites in Nikaia. This is the witness of the man just mentioned. But let the witness of the gospel according to John be proof of the fact that the Saviour suffered in that year. It attests that after the fifteenth year of Tiberius the duration of his teaching was three years
11 45 AD August 1 Cassius Dio LX 26.1 Καὶ ἐπειδὴ ὁ ἥλιος ἐν τοῖς γενεθλίοις αὐτοῦ (Κλαυδίου) ἐκλείψειν ἔμελλεν, ἐφοβήθη τε μή τις ἐκ τούτου ταραχὴ γένηται, ἐπεὶ ἄλλα ἄττα τέρατα συνεβεβήκει, καὶ προέγραψεν οὐ μόνον ὅτι τε ἐκλείψει καὶ ὁπότε καὶ ἐφ ὁπόσον, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰς αἰτίας δι ἅς ἀναγκαίως γενήσεσθαι τοῦτ ἔμελλεν. Cary E., LCL, Dio s, Roman History VII, London 1961, p. 433 Since there was to be an eclipse of the sun on his birthday, he feared that there might be some disturbance in consequence, inasmuch as some other portents had already occured; he therefore issued a proclamation in which he stated not only the fact that there was to be an eclipse, and when, and for how long, but also the reasons for which this was bound to happen. 59 AD April 30 Plinius, Natural History II, LXXII.180 Ideo defectus solis ac lunae vespertinos orientis incolae non sentiunt, nec matutinos ad occasum habitantes, meridianos vero serius nobis illi. apud Arbilam Magni Alexandri victoria luna defecisse noctis secunda hora est prodita eademque in Sicilia exoriens. solis defectum Vipsano et Fonteio cos., qui fuere ante paucos annos, factum pridie kalendas Maias Campania hora diei inter septimam et octavam sensit, Corbulo dux in Armenia inter horam diei decimam et undecimam prodidit visum, circuiti globi alia aliis detegente et occultante. Rackham H., LCL, Pliny Natural History I, London 1977, p. 313 Consequently inhabitants of the East do not perceive evening eclipses of the sun and moon, nor do those dwelling in the West see morning eclipses, while the latter see eclipses at midday later than we do. The victory of Alexander the Great is said to have caused an eclipse of the moon at Arbela at 8 p.m. while the same eclipse in Sicily was when the moon was just rising. An eclipse of the sun that occured on April 30 in the consulship of Vipsanus and Fonteius a few years ago was visible in Campania between 1 and 2 p.m. but was reported by Corbulo commanding in Armenia as observed between 4 and 5: this was because the curve of the globe discloses and hides different phenomena for different localities. 59 AD April 30 Tacitus, Annales XIV.12 Prodigia quoque crebra et inrita intercessere: anguem enixa mulier et alia in concubitu mariti fulmine exanimata; iam sol repente obscuratus et tactae de caelo quattuordecim urbis regiones. quae adeo sine cura deum eveniebant ut multos post annos Nero imperium et scelera continuaverit. Woodman (2004), p. 280 There occurred too a thick succession of portents, which meant nothing. A woman gave birth to a snake, and another was killed by a thunderbolt in her husband's embrace. Then the sun was suddenly darkened and the fourteen districts of the city were struck by lightning. All this happened quite without any providential design; so much so, that for many subsequent years Nero prolonged his reign and his crimes.
12 59 AD April 30 Cassius Dio LXI 16.4 ὁ μέντοι ἥλιος σύμπας ἐν μέσαις ταῖς θυσίαις ταῖς ἐπὶ τῇ Ἀγριππίνῃ κατὰ τὸ ψήφισμα γενομέναις ἐξέλιπεν, ὥστε καὶ ἀστέρας ἐκφανήναι. Cary E., LCL, Dio s Roman History VIII, London 1961, p. 73 Nevertheless, in the midst of the sacrifices that were offered in Agrippina's honour in pursuance of a decree, the sun suffered a total eclipse and the stars could be seen. 67 AD May 31 Philostratus, The life of Apollonius of Tyana IV, 43 Γενομένης γάρ ποτε ἐκλείψεως ἡλίου καὶ βροντῆς ἐκδοθείσης ὅπερ ἥκιστα ἐν ἐκλείψει δοκεῖ ξυμβαίνειν, ἀναβλέψας ἐς τὸν οὐρανὸν ἔσται τι ἔφη μέγα καὶ οὐκ ἔσται. Ξυμβαλεῖν μὲν δὴ τὸ εἰρημένον οὔπω εἶχον οἱ παρατυχόντες τῷ λόγῳ. Τρίτῃ δ ἀπὸ τῆς ἐκλείψεως ἡμέρᾳ ξυνῆkαν τοῦ λόγου πάντες. Jones Ch. P., LCL, Philostratus. The life of Apollonius of Tyana Books I-IV, 2005, p. 413 An eclipse of the sun occurred together with a clap of thunder, something considered very unusual in an eclipse. Apollonius looked up at the sky and said: Something momentous is going to happen and not to happen. Those present when he said this could not immediately interpret his words, but three days after the eclipse they all understood the meaning. 71 AD March 20 Plutarch, de facie in orbae lunae XIX ὅτι μὲν γὰρ οὐδὲν οὕτως τῶν περὶ τὸν ἥλιον γενομένων ὅμοιόν ἐστιν ὡς ἔκλειψις ἡλίου δύσει, δότε μοι, ταύτης ἔναγχος τῆς συνόδου μνησθέντες, ἥ πολλὰ μὲν ἄστρα πολλαχόθεν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ διέφηνεν, εὐθὺς ἐκ μεσημβρίας ἀρξαμένη, χρᾶσιν δὲ, οἵαν τὸ λυκαυγες, τῷ ἀέρι παρέσχεν. Cherniss & Helmbold (1957), p Now grant me that nothing that happens to the Sun is so like its setting as a solar eclipse. You will if you call to mind this conjunction recently which, beginning just after noonday, made many stars shine out from many parts of the sky and tempered the air in the manner of twilight. If you have forgotten it...
13 Plinius, Natural History II, IX AD January 5 Defectus CCXXIII mensibus redire in suos orbes certum est, solis defectus non nisi novissima primare fieri luna, quod vocant coitum, lunae autem non nisi plena, semperque citra quam proxime fuerint; omnibus autem annis fieri utriusque sideris defectus statis diebus horisque sub terra nec tamen, cum superne fiant, ubique cerni, aliquando propter nubila, saepius globo terrae obstante convexitatibus mundi. Intra ducentos annos Hipparchi sagacitate compertum est et lunae defectum aliquando quinto mesne a priore fieri, solis vero septimo, eundem bis in XXX diebus super terras occultari, sed ab aliis hoc cerni, quaeque sunt in hoc miraculo maxime mira, cum conveniat umbra terrae lunam heetari, nunc ab occasus parte hoc ei accidere, nunc ab exortus, quanam ratione, cum solis exortu umbrae illa hebetatrix sub terra esse debeat, semel iam acciderit ut in occasu lunae deficeret utroque super terram conspicuo sidere. nam ut XV diebus utrumque sidus quaereretur, et nostro aevo accidit imperatoribus Vespasianis patre III. filio consulibus. Rackham H., LCL, Pliny Natural History II, London 1979, p It is certain that eclipses recur in cycles of 223 months - eclipses of the sun only when the moon is in her last or first phase (this is called their 'conjunction'), eclipses of the moon only at full moon - and always within the period of their last occurence; but that yearly at fixed days and hours eclipses of either star occur below the earth, and that even when they occur above the earth they are not visible everywhere, sometimes owing to clouds, more often because the earth's globe stands in the way of the world's curvature. Less than 200 years ago the penetration of Hipparchus discovered that an eclipse of the moon also sometimes occurs four months after the one before and an eclipse of the sun six months, and that the latter when above earth is hidden twice in thirty days, but that this eclipse is visible to different nations, and - the most remarkable features of this remarkable occurence - that when it comes about that the moon is obscured by the shadow of the earth, this sometimes happenes to it from the west side and sometimes from the east; and he also discovered for what exact reason, although the shadow causing the eclipse must from sunrise onward be below the earth, it happened once in the past that the moon was eclipsed in the west while both luminaries were visible above the earth. For the eclipse of both sun and moon within 15 days of each other has occured even in our time, in the year of the third consulship of the elder Emperor Vespasian and the second consulship of the younger.
14 118 AD September 3 Fasti Vindobonenses priores cum excerptis Sangallensibus (ed. Mommsen, MGH Chronica Minora Vol. I, München 1981, p. 285) 118 Adriano et Salinatore. his cons. sol eclipsim passus est. Newton (1972), p Hadrian and Salinator. Under these consuls an eclipse of the sun took place. 164 AD September 4 Proclus IV, 98 (ed. Manitius, Procli Diadochi. Hypotyposis Astronomicarum Positionum, Leipzig 1909, p. 130) ᾦ καὶ δῆλον ὅτι, εἰ τοῦτο ἀληθές, οὐκ ἔστιν ἀληθές, ὃ ἱστόρησε Σωσιγένης ὁ Περιπατητικὸς ἐν τοῖς περὶ τῶν ἀνελιττουσῶν σφαιρῶν, τὸ τὸν ἥλιον ἐν ταῖς περιγείοις ἐκλείψεσιν ὁρᾶσθαι μὴ ὅλον ἐπιπροσθούμενον, ἀλλὰ τοῖς ἄκροις τῆς ἑαυτοῦ περιφερείας ὑπερβάλλειν τὸν κύκλον τῆς σελήνης καὶ φωτίζειν οὐκ ἐμποδιζόμενον. 186 AD December 28 Aelius Lampridius, Commodus Antonius, XVI Prodigia... vestigia deorum in foro visa sunt exeuntia. et ante bellum desertorum caelum arsit. et repentina caligo ac tenebra in circo Kalendis Januariis oborta. ed. Manitius, Procli Diadochi. Hypotyposis Astronomicarum Positionum, Leipzig 1909, p. 131 If this is correct, it is thus clearly proven, that it is not correct, what the Peripatetic Sosigenes told in his script On the retroactive spheres, that the Sun is not seen fully covered if the eclipse happens close to its perigee, but that the Sun protrudes with its outermost rim above the lunar disk and shines unobstructed. Magie D., LCL, Historia Augusta, Vol. I, London 1921, p Prodigies footprints of the gods were seen in the Forum departing from it. Before the war of the deserters the heavens were ablaze. On the Kalends of January a swift coming mist and darkness arose in the Circus. 197 AD June 3? / 211 AD March 2? / 212 AD August 14? Tertullian ad Scapulam III Nam et sol ille in conventu Uticensi, extincto plene lumine, adeo portentum fuit, ut non potuerit ex ordinario deliquio hoc pati, positus in suo hypsomate, et domicilio. Habetis astrologos. Quacquarelli (1957), p. 61 That sun, too, in the metropolis of Utica, with light all but extinguished, was a portent which could not have occurred from an ordinary eclipse, situated as the lord of day was in his height and house. You have the astrologers, consult them about it.
15 218 AD October 7 Cassius Dio LXXVIII 30.1 ἡλίου τε γὰρ ἔκλειψις περιφανεστάτη ὑπὸ τὰς ἡμέρας ἐκείνας ἐγένετο, Cary E., LCL, Dio s Roman History IX, London 1961, p. 407 For a very distinct eclipse of the sun occurred just before that time 240 AD August 5 Julius Capitolinus, Gordiani III, XXIII Et hic finis belli intestini fuit, cum esset delatus Gordiano puero consulatus. sed indicium non diu imperaturi Gordiani hoc fuit, quod eclipsis solis facta est, ut nox crederetur neque sine luminibus accensis quicquam agi posset. Magie D., LCL, Historia Augusta, Vol. II, London 1921, p. 422 And an end of the civil war strife was made when the boy Gordian was given consulship. There was an omen, however that Gordian was not to rule for long, which was this: there occurred an eclipse of the sun, so black that men thought it was night and business could not be transacted without the aid of lanterns. 292 AD May 4 Consularia Constantinopolitana (ed. Mommsen, MGH Chronica Minora Vol. I, München 1981, p. 230) Tiberiano et Dione. 1. His cons. tenebrae fuerunt inter diem 2. et eo anno leuati sunt Constaninus. et Maximinus Cesares die kal. Mart. Burgess (1997), p. 234 Tiberianus and Dione consuls. 1. Under these consuls there was a darkness in the middle of the day, 2. and this year Constantius and Maximinus were elevated to Caesars on the calends of March.